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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-01 19:24
Deliverance, by James Dickey
Deliverance (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) - James Dickey

The film version of Deliverance is known for "that scene," the one where Bobby, one of four city men traversing a wild river in Georgia, is raped by a "hillbilly." The scene is a bit different in the book--there's no "Squeal like a pig!" moment--but essentially the same. Before I even saw the film, I knew about that scene. Men as victims of rape (outside of prison as a context) in stories shock us; women as victims are so common, often serving as the impetus for a male protagonist to seek revenge, or to "develop" a female character, that it's rare for their victimization to become the talking point of a film or book, unless the scene is especially brutal (e.g. Irreversible) or unique (e.g. that turkey baster in Don't Breathe).


I mention this because I came to Deliverance as a reader who is now rarely interested in books with white masculinity as their subject. Its spot on the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century likely put it on my radar, and when I read a sample I was dazzled by its language. Dickey's prose is the best thing about the novel, for a reader like me. He has a way of describing moments of consciousness or states of being that is unlike anything else I've read. It carried me through the story, even as the book became what I feared it might. In essence, it's about using and relying on one's physical and mental resources as a man to make it through a dire situation.


The leader of this river expedition is Lewis, the most capable and masculine "man's man" of the foursome. He's what we would today call a survivalist; he has faith in himself and his body, first and foremost, and wants to be prepared for anything. There's Drew, the sensible, amateur musician, and Bobby, the smartass who's the least helpful on the river. The protagonist and narrator is Ed, Lewis's best friend. Ed is mildly dissatisfied with his work (in advertising) and goes back and forth about wanting to take part in the river trip. When Lewis is badly injured and another member of their party killed by the surviving local man who participated in the rape (Lewis killed the other), it's up to Ed to get them out of there alive. He does, though injured and obliged to murder (or kill in self-defense, depending on your perspective). The three survivors lie about what happened, concerned they won't be believed by local law enforcement. This experience will clearly haunt them always.


What troubles me is the way Bobby is characterized, especially after the rape. When reading, especially a violent and potentially offensive book like this, I try to separate characters' actions and attitudes from the author's. Immediately after the rapist is killed by Lewis, Ed thinks to himself that he doesn't want to touch or be around Bobby. This is a moment where you can distinguish between character and author. But Bobby is elsewhere characterized as weak by the author; his ineptitude makes him a hazard to his friends more than a help as they traverse the river and try to escape the situation. Bobby is, in effect, the least masculine and feminized. Drew had his sense of morality going for him; what does Bobby have except (useless) humor?


The few women in the book are wives or objects of a desirous male gaze. Ed has sex with his wife the morning he leaves for the trip, and when he returns, thinks he hasn't appreciated her enough. Drew's widow is angry and predictably points out how useless a death he suffered, adventuring on a river. Throughout the story, Ed thinks of the model who posed topless (back to the camera) and held her breast in a roomful of men, a gold tint in one eye. The women seem there to help define the men's masculinity.


Deliverance is tightly constructed, the type of book with symbolism to pore through, ready for a book group or class discussion. I've mentioned its stellar language and also gasped at several points. I can certainly understand its presence on the Modern Library's list, even as I struggle with some elements.

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review 2017-04-08 03:46
The Class from the Black Lagoon - Mike Thaler

The entire Black Lagoon series is a series that I adored growing up, and is still a fan favorite of students of everywhere. This book is about a teacher that pictures the worst of the worst class for the year, and her imagination runs wild. Always at the end of any of these series, their imagination was way worse than the real outcome. It is a great lesson to teach students to be on their best behavior. I think a great lesson would be to use this as a writing prompt of what makes a great class and a terrible class. Great also for class discussion. 

Grade Level - K-2nd

Lexile Level - 480L


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review 2017-04-05 16:51
Baking Class by Deanna F. Cook
Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake! - Deanna F. Cook

As a seasoned veteran in the kitchen Some of this book was a bit below me so to speak. It is written more on the kid level. BUT I did find some amazing recipes and even learned a thing or to. No matter how much you think you know about something there is always room for improvement and sometimes we just need to go back to the basics if for nothing else then  refresher course. If you are a beginner this book is great. It teaches tips and tricks as well as a whole bunch of wonderful recipes.. I lie how the recipes were broken down into categories. There are some no bake recipes included as well. This book is a great addition to any kitchen. I truly believe in letting kids help in the kitchen,  I even let my 2 year old help me. How else are they going to learn to feed themselves if we do not take the time to show them how to do it? This book like I said is geared more towards kids and beginners. Honestly it will help take some of the stress off of you as a parent/teacher to start with books like this because it will let you remember the whole time you are dealing with children and beginners. 



I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

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review 2017-03-31 16:01
A new year, a new class – more nastiness and treachery!
Deadly Class Volume 5 - Rick Remender



I'm not sure why I persist with this series: there's a lot of violence and bloodshed, the artwork is a little too simplistic for me and the plotlines are “silly” at times.


A freshman year starts at the school for killers and the volume concentrates on a small group of these as well as on Saya and her development. There's also a return to Maria's fate towards the end.


If you enjoyed the four [previous volumes, you'll undoubtedly like this one too.


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text 2017-03-28 23:54
The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree is a classic book by Shel Silverstein about a little boy who befriends a tree. The tree loved him so much that she was willing to give him anything he wanted. As the little boy is young and still growing up, he spends so much time with the tree. However, the older he gets, the less time he spends with it. Eventually, the only time that he visits the tree is because he needs something. The tree is always willing to give him whatever it is he needs. This book tells the powerful story of how people tend to take things for granted. We ask and ask for things in the world to try and make ourselves happy, but in the end, it is the simple things that matter the most. This book’s Lexile reading level is 530L, and I believe it can be read in any elementary school grades. Different age groups will develop a different understanding for the book, which is always interesting to listen to. In my classroom, I would want us to create our own giving tree. The students will each be given at least two leaves. On one leaf, they must write the characteristics of a giving person. On the other leaf, they can write the name of a person in their life that has always been giving to them. They must also write at least one example of how that person is giving. These leaves will be used to decorate our class tree, and it will serve as a reminder for my class to always be a giving person.

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